Category Archives: Special Guests

SEASON FOUR PREMIERE!

Check out There & Back Again, the first episode of our fourth season, and be the first to meet our newest crew member, Lismari! Listen wherever fine podcasts are consumed!

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All for (Earth) One

Barry Allen has an exceptional amount of responsibility working with the Central City Police as their forensic scientist. Although he’s not a detective, his ability to use evidence from a crime scene to assist others is both very specific and incredibly necessary. It’s certainly not the most glamorous, but his expertise serves a purpose beyond just testing samples and viewing results. Without his explicit help, crimes in Central City would certainly take much longer to solve, if they’d be solved at all. Beyond that, Barry Allen serves the CCPD as The Flash, making criminal activity seem non-existent. Crimes committed by Meta Humans, on the other hand… now, that’s a different story altogether. He works as quickly as he can to contain those with powers who typically are beyond CCPD’s capacity and reach.

If you know The Flash, then you know he doesn’t act alone. While Barry was in a coma, Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon, and Harrison Wells worked tirelessly to strengthen him. Upon his waking up, this small yet knowledgeable team of scientists continue to aid Barry, cultivating his newly developed skills as The Flash. Cisco has an abundance of insight on tech. Caitlin maintains Barry’s health, keeping him in check. And Wells… well, he oversees it, but he generally is the sounding board. These three also encourage Barry to gain speed with every experience. Each member of the team is very specific and undoubtedly necessary for the success of The Flash as a whole. Their willingness to help Barry succeed as The Flash allows him to better aid the CCPD, moving their demonstration of support beyond assistance into the realm of the greater good: the safety of an entire city.

Each role is vastly unique, and no person can fulfill the role in case of an absence. Similarly, we each have been given a very unique role in the Body of Christ, and all roles are for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). If the gift given to one is prophecy, and the gift given to another is wisdom, neither can replace the other, but they must work together for the common good. In the same way, no gift given is less important than another. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians “…the head cannot say to the feet ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts that are weaker are indispensable.” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22) Though we may not see it as such, each role is just as necessary! In fact, we are told to encourage and build one another up in love, and in doing so, we may live together in Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:11). No role is too small or insignificant that has not been considered by the Lord for His Kingdom’s glory, and that includes your role! Whatever that may be, be sure to surround yourself with others who encourage the cultivation of that skill and gift given to you by God. In doing that, you allow yourself to grow into the person God desires you to be, and you’re able best serve the Kingdom.

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as Lord of the Rings or anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles

Trust Me… I Got This

(Warning: if you haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VIII- The Last Jedi, this definitely contains spoilers… and if you haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VIII-The Last Jedi, what are you even doing? Go do that!)

Poe Dameron has a really bad habit of just doing his own thing… like when Leia specifically tells him to pull back after they completed their counterattack, he defies her orders, destroying a First Order Fleet. He’s passionate to a fault, and this move costs the Resistance more than they should have allowed. He genuinely thinks he’s doing what is best for the advancement of the Resistance. In his efforts to help, though, things don’t quite pan out the way he had hoped. This risky move grants him a demotion, a decision with which he clearly disagrees. While their fearless and trustworthy leader General Leia lay asleep indefinitely, Vice Admiral Holdo (Ellie Satler from Jurassic Park with a fabulous purple coiffure) has every intention of protecting both their cause and those aboard their ship by waiting it out. Poe voices his disapproval of her plan, and remedies the obvious predicament by taking things into his own hands, feeling more assured of survival.

True to his nature, Poe rigs up a plan to stop the seemingly inevitable defeat of the Resistance involving Finn and newfound ally, Rose. They’re directed to a casino, locked up, and they make friends with a shady hacker who assures them he can help their cause… for a price. After he follows through on his end of the deal, the hacker proves he has no allegiance in this fight between the First Order and the Resistance. This entire mess would have been avoided entirely had Poe trusted the leadership placed over the Resistance. Vice Admiral Holdo proves her absolute commitment to the Resistance by ensuring everyone’s safe departure from the ship, sacrificing her own safety. In the end, everything happened as it needed to happen, but there was significant collateral damage in the wake from Poe’s decision. The redemption of the situation was revealed in the safety of the Resistance ship passengers, and a newly ignited passion for their cause altogether.

With a results-oriented mindset, it can be easy to get lost in the “what if’s” of life. Like Poe, who didn’t trust his new leadership, we can often feel like we’re left to fend for ourselves when we don’t see the whole picture. While that’s certainly never the case, we almost feel more secure in making our own decisions, because it seems as though it could be safer. I am guilty of this many times over, but Jesus reminds me time and time again that I will never understand how things work the way they do (Isaiah 55:8-9). There are plans for our lives that we may not yet see… or maybe we know what we’re called to, but we don’t quite see the steps being taken in a way that makes sense to us. But we’re not asked to understand, we’re asked to “trust in the LORD with all our hearts, and lean not on our understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6). In our decision to trust, God will make clear to us the steps we’re supposed to take, then He’ll direct the rest. Even when there is a time that we lack trust and attempt to take control, God is willing and able to work all things to His Kingdom’s glory (Romans 8:28). There is an element of trust in this walk with Jesus that is absolutely essential, and it’s so much sweeter to trust in the One who knows all things than to hope we can make it on our own.

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as Lord of the Rings or anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles

 

As Long as One Man Stands

It is interesting how movies about comics have become more and more common in mainstream media. I remember watching the 1990 Captain America movie and thinking it was the coolest movie ever! I was only 6 or 7 years old watching it, so don’t judge me. I recently watched it again not too long ago and thinking to myself, “Are those rubber ears?” I realized how wrong I was.

I have always admired Captain America for so many reasons. He always stands for what is right and true; he stands for his country; he stands and defends ones who can’t; he stands when all adversity is against him. He would never stop fighting and standing for the right reasons. In the comics, he has shown countless times the character and integrity he stands for. Except only for the “Hail Hydra” thing, he has been consistent, but we won’t discuss that.

Captain America reminds me of stories from the Bible when people would stand against tyrants who are hell bent on taking over. Moses vs. the Pharaoh, David vs. Goliath, Job vs. his friends, Daniel vs. Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel vs. the Lions, Jesus vs. Death. There are countless times in the Bible when people stand for what is right. No matter the cost, even unto death people would stand. In the picture above, Captain America is standing face to face with the tyrant Thanos and says “As long as one man stands against you, Thanos, you’ll never be able to claim victory.” What a bold statement to say even though Thanos could beat him to a pulp. I can picture David and others listed above saying something very similar.

In Mark chapter 14, Jesus is betrayed and arrested and sent before the Council. People are screaming and testifying against Jesus, saying wrong things, hitting him and spitting on Him. While all this is happening Jesus just STANDS there taking all of it. Until this point, Jesus hasn’t said a word until the high priest asks Jesus a question.

“And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭14:60-62‬ ‭ESV

Jesus could have taken the easy way out by saying nothing or lying about who He is. Jesus stands for what He was called to do and for what He believes in. Jesus was a clear example of standing against wrong. Jesus showed us how to stand against those who come against us. For us it is imperative that we stand with Jesus leading the way, guiding and directing us. With the Lord leading the way, no one can stand against us. “As long as one man stands against you, Thanos, you’ll never be able to claim victory.” Let us stand strong with confidence today and everyday as we claim our victory against evil, hardships and difficulties.

Salt and Light(s, Camera, Action)

Like most of the world, I am currently obsessing over Black Panther; so much so that I’ve seen it multiple times in theaters (all this without MoviePass™… talk about dedication). The film boasts a dynamic plot, character build, and a seamless integration into the Marvel cinematic universe. The characters were well-written, and the cast lends itself to make the plot all the more enjoyable. To their credit, there was a natural chemistry between the cast members. Throughout the film, newcomer Letitia Wright proved her skill and natural charm while delivering lines like “Guess what I call them? Sneakers. Because you… never mind.” While Shuri may have been written with a certain charm, I feel as though this came naturally to her. On and off screen, Wright has been a showstopper with her attitude and humility.

Wright has been incredibly outspoken regarding her faith in media, on her social media, and during filming. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she remarked “Everybody has their thing that they’re truthful about. My thing is just a love of God … so that’s what I’m going to do.”  Black Panther director Ryan Coogler also noted her charisma on set, calling her “the love and the light” of the film. During an interview with UK talk show This Morning, the hosts asked Wright about her past with acting; specifically, they questioned her about the fact that she considered giving up on acting altogether. Her response revealed that she experienced trials, but was able to overcome them through her relationship with Christ.

I needed to take a break from acting because I really idolized it. So I came off from it and I went on a journey to discover God and my relationship with God, and I became a Christian. It really just gave me so much love and light within myself. I felt secure, and I felt like I didn’t need validation from anyone else, or from getting a part. My happiness wasn’t dependent on that, it was dependent on my relationship with God.

God desires godliness everywhere, including the film industry, and we are called as Christians to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). In an industry that is seemingly riddled with scandal, Wright’s faith is both encouraging and refreshing. She has spoken boldly in the past about her faith, and I don’t imagine that changing anytime soon. This has the ability to shift the conversation in a world that is in desperate need of the Gospel. But, it can’t be left to just this actress alone; bold as she may be, she is only one. There is a whole world in need of the Gospel, and the impact would be tremendous, but the laborers are counted as few (Matthew 9:37-38). Each of us is equipped differently, but we all have the ability to shift the conversation, just as Wright is doing in her work and life. Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In that, we set ourselves apart and allow Christ to work through us.

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as Lord of the Rings or anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles

*Exclusions Not Applicable

There is something wildly fascinating to me about comic conventions. But here’s the catch… I have never, ever been to single comic convention (side note: this is why I’m so excited to be going to MegaCon Orlando in May).

Fans leave the convention center on day one of Comic-Con International held at the San Diego Convention Center. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Invision/AP)

That said, this is going to be based on a lot of speculation, but hear me out: there is such a sense of camaraderie among those who share similar interests. I jump at the opportunity to experience new events, and I love learning about comic artists, upcoming movies, and video games. For those who have grown up appreciating nerd-culture, there’s an investment in attending a comic convention because they have grown alongside their favorite characters and universes. This community is cultivated on a kind of give-and-take of knowledge and passion for geek things.

There’s also this really incredibly inclusive aspect to nerdiness that you don’t have to meet requirements of a certain kind of “personhood” to actually be a nerd. There are people from all walks of life who find themselves fascinated by all things geeky. I have a friend from Lille who introduced me to my first graphic novels, a friend from the Bronx who sent me a documentary on comic artists, and a friend from Encarnación who convinced me to read sci-fi novels. The point is this: there is no guideline on who can or cannot be a nerd, and there is certainly no “*Exclusions apply, see back for details” on any comic, book, movie, video game, or convention. This is a community of people who, even for just a day, lay aside their differences to come together based on a common-thread appreciation of an art form.

If it is true that there is no *Exclusions apply, see back for details on anything nerdy, then it is even more true for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He came not to condemn the world, but to save the world… the ENTIRE world (John 3:16-17). The Gospel is for men, women, all sinners, and all those sinned against. Christians come from a multitude of circumstances, experiences, cultures, and heritages. Based on that alone, it is evident that you don’t have to be a certain kind of person before becoming a Christian. Jesus has extended adoption to us through His death and resurrection, to call Christians children of God (John 1:12-13, Galatians 3:26-29). We are known as God’s children by the love we have for one another, despite our circumstances, experiences, cultures and heritages. Jesus is the common foundation on which we build our lives, and that alone unites us in a unique and profound way.

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as Lord of the Rings or anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles


An Unexpected Journey

So, you know the scene in The Hobbit when thirteen unexpected guests show up, knocking on the perfectly round, green door to Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole? Bilbo opens the door for each group, the final group including Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf the Grey. These unexpected guests welcome themselves into Bilbo’s perfectly-kept home, disrupting what started out as a normal day; everything had been turned to chaos! In the midst of Bilbo’s obvious bewilderment at this disruption to his routing, Gandalf invites him on a grand adventure, and explains that his acceptance of the invitation will land him an important role for the duration of the journey.

To Bilbo Baggins, however, the very idea of that is absolutely preposterous. How could he leave Bag End and everything he found comfort in? Gandalf tries to persuade him, offering Bilbo another chance to join. With perhaps a hint of excitement as he joined in on the conversation with Thorin and Gandalf, Bilbo nevertheless goes to bed without accepting the invitation. Waking up late the next morning Bilbo finds himself alone again in his home. Having a sudden quickening of heart, he uncharacteristically grabs his things and runs out the door! What an unusual change of pace from his typical day… and when he is questioned as he is running, he simply yells back “I’m going on an adventure!”

hobbit

How would you respond to that situation? Would you stand on firm ground and say no? Or, would you say yes with anticipation of what is to come? God calls each of us into a story He’s writing. Sometimes, our fears of leaving comfort hold us back from whatever adventure God has for us. We can try to plan out our steps, but the Lord ultimately directs our paths (Proverbs 16:1,9). I truly believe that whatever God has called us to is going to be messy, difficult, and downright out of our comfort zone. Leaving the predictability and comfort of Hobbiton and the Shire was the hardest thing Bilbo Baggins had ever been called upon to do, although by journey’s end he would find challenges even greater. But there was so much to gain from all those experiences. It’s even truer for us, then, who follow God’s call! While we’ll face trials, we know that the Lord is fighting for us (Exodus 14:14). There is a full, abundant, overflowing life just on the other side of the invitation…. Where would you find yourself in that?

alexsimonAlexandria is a worship coordinator for Driven Youth Ministries, and small group leader for Shift Preteens and The One Young Adults. She has a passion for Marvel Movies and graphic novels, as well as The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and anything fantasy. Find her on Twitter at @faitdetoiles